About a week has gone by since the International Fastener Expo and I feel like I’ve needed about a week to decompress. For those of you that have not heard, I received a great honor in Vegas and was inducted into the Fastener Hall of Fame. Yep the very same one I’ve written about in the past when I took a memorable road trip with Eric Dudas and Jackie “kind of a big deal” Ventura to recover the HOF pavers before they were turned into rubble. I find it a little humbling to talk about but a very nice honor all the same. I was asked to give a short speech and my only regret is that there were so many people to thank with so little time – I just bailed, literally said “screw it” and dropped my notes cause I felt I was talking too long. I did thank some, missed others but want to thank everyone who has interacted with me over the years in this fine industry and has networked with me enough that somehow my name came up for consideration.
I want to thank the IFE and Emerald Expositions for being great hosts and for the many kind gestures they made to me as an HOF honoree. Their generosity was significant and unexpected. And I still have some whisky left – part of their generosity! Thanks to the Fastener Industry Coalition (FIC) for electing me (and Ed McIlhon) into the hall this year. The FIC is a dynamic and (in my opinion) underappreciated industry group. Think about it, the FIC is made up of representatives from EVERY regional association, the IFI, WIFI, NFDA, YFP and the Fastener Training Institute. I hope the FIC will rise up to be an even bigger player in our industry and I really hope the regional associations with think long and hard about who they are sending to be the representatives for their groups. If someone ever can harness the full force of all these groups working together towards a common goal – that’s a lot of fire power!
Finally, thanks to Bob Baer of Abbot Interfast for introducing me at the ceremony. I encouraged Bob not to over think (or over rehearse) the intro and what came out was a genuine, sincere intro from a good friend. Thanks. I mentioned the ladies from Fastener New Desk, I mentioned Brian and Eric, I mentioned the people who over the years have allowed me to represent them, I mentioned the fastener associations I have worked with including Lisa Graham, Nancy Rich & Vickie Lester. However there were a couple groups of people I forgot thank –
To the many customers I have called on for 34 years who have welcomed me into their facilities and allowed me to be part of their supply chain, I cannot ever express how thankful I am. I promise you, I always value your time and hope I never come into your places of business without something of value cause it has always been important to me not to waste your time. And even better, after 34 years I consider many of you good friends. Thanks Allan Weitzman for your friendship and continued support!
To those long standing principals who have stuck by me over the years, I cannot thank you enough. I have a contract between my rep agency and Chicago Hardware that is older than I am (58) and while there are never any guarantees I look forward to continuing that relationship into the future. Thank you to the Herbstritt family and their fine team. Thank you to team Solution Industries for enabling me to spread my wings and pursue opportunities anywhere in the country. In the early days with John Radel I asked about a territory and John replied, “you can go anywhere in the world and give yourself any title you like”. That sentiment has never changed and I enjoy the support and encouragement to be creative and break barriers trying to bring their story to new markets.
Thank you to Tim O’Keefe and the great people at G.L. Huyett for an unexpected but very much appreciated congratulations gift. Did not expect it but your kindness shows what you’re all about.
I’m still skipping many people but again I don’t want to make this into a novel. And, I said in my acceptance speech, there is still a lot of work to be done. In my speech I mentioned that there have been, and continue to be a lot of mergers and acquisitions but in the past it was largely one distributor buying another or one supplier buying another. Today we see a lot of M&A activity but it is frequently acquisitions being completed by holding companies or investment firms. On October 8, STAFDA is hosting a webinar called “The Coming Commoditization of Distribution: Disruption & What You Can Do About It”. In the webinar description they mention specifically the “external players” entering the industrial marketplace including Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Google and Walmart. And just about a week or two ago the ladies of Fastener News Desk posted a link to a McKinsy & Company study called “The coming shakeout in industrial distribution”. Pretty much the same topic as the STAFDA webinar.
I cannot say enough how much I appreciate being a proud member of the Fastener Hall of Fame. But I hope and feel that there are many good days ahead and there are still many career goals I have to accomplish. So, thank you for the honor and let’s get moving on the next chapter because I think we all can see we are heading into some uncertain times in the next couple years.